German minister sees nuclear extension as increasingly likely - Spiegel

FILE PHOTO: German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck visits North Rhine Westphalia

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's economy minister expects to have to extend the lifespans of the country's last two nuclear power plants to avoid possible outages and grid bottlenecks in Europe's biggest economy this winter, Spiegel weekly reported on Tuesday.

Germany had planned to complete a phase-out of nuclear power by the end of this year but a collapse in energy supplies from Russia due to the war in Ukraine has prompted the government to keep two plants on standby until April.

"We are already in a place where the stress test says: It may be necessary to use nuclear power plants for grid security," Robert Habeck said in an interview at a climate conference.

The main risk is a grid bottleneck, added the minister.

"It's not the amount of electricity, but the distribution of power in the grid," he said, adding he was already concerned by a lack of nuclear power from France.

Asked if an extension of the lifespans of two German nuclear plants looked likely, Habeck said: "It is certainly not less likely."

(Writing by Madeline Chambers, editing by Rachel More)